Concept: Virtual analog and wavetable synthesis combine in Novation’s first hardware synth since the X-Station.
Big deal: Single-voice synth engine with up to three oscillators. Vocoder, arpeggiator, and USB audio interface. Touch mode turns encoders into touch-sensitive modulation controls. Tweak feature groups favorite settings and maps them to knobs.
We think: The price and features aim it squarely at Roland’s Gaia. We’ll have a first-look video up by the time you read this.
List:$849.99 | Approx. street: $700 | novationmusic.com
KAWAI MP10 and MP6
Concept: Kawai’s new flagship stage piano replaces the MP8-II; its little brother the MP6 ups the ante over the MP5.
Big deal: New samples of Kawai EX grand piano with each note sampled individually. New electric piano and vintage keys sounds are much improved. MP6 has tonewheel organ mode with nine-drawbar control.
We think: The designs are beautiful, review units are on the way, and Kawai appears to be back in the state-of-theart stage piano game.
MP10 list: $2,999
MP6 list: $1,799
Street prices TBD
Concept: The next generation of Yamaha’s flagship arranger workstation.
Big deal: Vocal Harmony 2 engine works with new vocal content in Styles to provide realistic backing vocals in all genres from choral to gospel to pop to doo-wop. Super Articulation 2 Voices upgraded with more instruments and better response to your keyboard technique. Loads factory expansion sounds or user samples into non-volatile flash memory.
We think: With the sheer level of artificial intelligence inside, the T4 knocks on other arrangers’ doors and asks, “Are you Sarah Connor?”
List: $5,995 | Approx. street: $4,995 | music-tyros.com
M-AUDIO OXYGEN 88
Concept: The famously affordable and versatile Oxygen controller gets a piano action.
Big deal: Fully weighted, graded, 88-key action. DirectLink provides instant handshake and control mapping to common functions of most major DAWs.
List: $749.95 | Approx. street: $600 |
AVID’S NEW PRO TOOLS LINEUP
“A chicken in every pot, and Pro Tools in every converted garage” seems to be Avid’s motto these days, as they’ve added new product levels which target specific user segments that may have felt left out before. Note that these add to, but don’t replace, the existing lineup—neither M-Powered nor HD Accel products are going away anytime soon.
PRO TOOLS SE STUDIOS
If you’re a songwriter just starting out with this digital recording stuff, or perhaps a parent wisely questioning whether your tweener will stick with it, this super-easy 16-track Pro Tools is the one for you. Three flavors—Key Studio, Recording Studio, and Vocal Studio—pair the software with different M-Audio hardware: respectively, a KeyStudio 49 MIDI keyboard, FastTrack audio interface, or Producer USB mic.
Key Studio: $129 | Recording Studio: $119 | Vocal Studio: $99 | all prices direct | m-audio.com
NEW MBOX FAMILY
The third generation of Avid’s most compact Pro Tools LE systems get more than just a cosmetic upgrade—though we do like the new look. Better converters, preamps, and drivers make for improved sound and stability, with both PTLE and other DAWs. Mini, standard, and Pro models feature one, two, and four mic inputs, respectively. The Mini’s sample rate goes up to 48kHz; both its bigger siblings do 96kHz.
Mbox Mini List: $399 | Approx. street: $350
Mbox list: $679 | Approx. street: $550
Mbox Pro list: $899 | Approx. street: TBD | avid.com
PRO TOOLS HD NATIVE
If you need to get more “pro” than Pro Tools LE, but already have a smokin’ fast computer and think $5K a pop for HD Accel cards is overkill, you’re in enough good company that Avid saw a niche to fill. The HD Native card plugs into your PCI bus and lets you use any PTHD interface, including the multi-talented and compact HD Omni (see New Gear, Keyboard Oct. ’10). Though the included Pro Tools software runs on your host CPU, it’s all bona fide PTHD. You get 64 input channels at once (that’s not an overall track limit) as opposed to 128 on a DSP-card-based TDM system, and the HEAT analog warmth emulation is (for now) TDM-only—but those are the only less-thans. Round-tripping to TDM systems is seamless, too.
HD Native Core card: $3,495 GRP (global retail price)
HD Native Core and Omni I/O bundle: $5,995 GRP
For other bundles, visit avid.com.